Canada – U.S. Post 2008 Elections

Written by  //  November 21, 2012  //  Canada, David/Terry Jones, Québec, U.S.  //  Comments Off on Canada – U.S. Post 2008 Elections

CBC News – Indepth: Canada-U.S. Relations
5 May 2003 … Relations between Canada and the U.S. are decidedly chilly these days. The Iraq war, trade disputes, name-calling, bickering at the border: …
The Economist: Stop, border ahead — New border controls and protectionist bills have dashed Canadians’ hopes that the change of occupant in the White House would mean warmer relations 28 May 2009


21 November
John Parisella: What the U.S. Election Tells Canada
(Americas Quarterly) For Canada, it is important that we realize that the U.S. is dead set on achieving energy independence on its own terms, rebuilding their manufacturing base in a proactive and aggressive manner, emphasizing innovation, opening new markets, and making growth the central component of its economic resurgence. Climate change in a new variation will likely make its way back in the public agenda (thanks in part to Hurricane Sandy). This means that the approval of the Keystone Pipeline is not a given. All in all, a strong U.S. economy is good news, but it will be on its own terms. Not ours.
Canada must take note. The Harper-Obama relationship has been functional and effective. Both countries cooperate out of mutual interest. But Obama has his own rendez-vous with history that second-term presidents covet so much. It is to be expected that America will set its own agenda priorities and will act accordingly.
7 November
Moving To Canada Won’t Be Easy For Anti-Obama Crowd
(HuffPost) Many Americans angry about Barack Obama’s election victory took to Twitter Wednesday to proclaim they’re moving to Canada.
Canada, however, may not be too eager to let them in, judging from their apparent lack of knowledge about their northern neighbour’s socialized medicine scheme, legal gay marriage and small military. Those disaffected Americans may also have a tough time navigating the bureaucratic maze that stands between them and citizenship.
3 November
5 Canadian issues facing the next U.S. president
Energy policy, trade, border security vital to relationship between two countries
While the Republican challenger has made a repeated reference to the Keystone XL pipeline project in his campaign speeches, the only other time Canada registered in the presidential debates was a passing mention of the country’s 15 per cent corporate tax rate, something Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, praised.
8 August
Allan Gotlieb, Michael Kergin and Colin Robertson: Canada has to master the complexity of the U.S. political system
(Globe & Mail) Three inescapable truths emerge from our high degree of integration:
1. Most Canada-U.S. conflicts emerge as a result of the U.S. domestic, not foreign policy, agenda.
2. Their outcome derives from the uniquely American doctrine of the separation of powers, the Congress being primus inter pares. Our diplomacy must be based on these constitutional realities but also on the equally important truth – to borrow from Lord Palmerston – that in the Congress of the United States, Canada has no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
3. The initiative will almost always lie with Canada to make sure the issue is on the White House agenda.
More than any other country, Canada has to master the complexity of the U.S. political system. Unless we do, little progress will be made on most issues. There are too many players (every congressman a foreign minister), too many special interests, too many bureaucrats, too many lobbyists at the doors of Congress and the White House, too fragmented a power structure and too much truth in Tip O’Neill’s dictum that “all politics is local.”
1 August
Actually, the Canada-U.S. relationship is just about right
By Gordon Giffin, former U.S. ambassador to Canada
(Globe & Mail) I submit that our current two leaders have accomplished noteworthy and difficult progress, which should be recognized and appreciated. Is every issue resolved and do we see eye to eye on everything? Of course not. We are two sovereign peoples, so that isn’t likely or even desirable. I have often referred to the Canada-U.S. relationship as the Goldilocks conundrum: Some observers view it as too hot, some as too cold. Put in the context of history, I believe we are experiencing one of those rare periods where it is just about right.
30 July
Canada’s Oil, the World’s Carbon
(NYT editorial) Last month, the State Department formally invited public comment on the issues it should consider in a new environmental assessment of the Keystone XL, a 1,200-mile pipeline that would connect the Alberta oil sands to an existing pipeline in Nebraska. The review process was triggered when TransCanada filed a new pipeline application after its first proposal was rejected by President Obama in January.
We hope, of course, that the State Department is rigorous in addressing all relevant questions: whether America needs this oil now or in the future; how many jobs the pipeline will actually provide. The department will also be asking about the danger of oil spills. But its report will be incomplete if it does not also consider what the oil flowing through the Keystone XL would spill into the skies — both now and in the future.
17 July
Andrew Cohen: Burney and Hampson prolong the fallout
(Ottawa Citizen) My, my, don’t they know when to quit? Having declared that Canadian-American relations are a mess, isn’t it time our resident iconoclasts found a new shtick?
Unbowed by their recent repudiation, Derek Burney and Fen Hampson are back for an encore, this one more sneer than smile. Call them the Cassandras of cross-border talking, darkening salons and seminars on both sides of the 49th parallel.
Why, listening to their broadside, you’d think the War of 1812 was a skirmish.
Now, in a defiant rejoinder on iPolitics — the country’s edgiest website on national politics — they return to the field to argue that “not one shred of analysis or evidence is proffered to discount our basic judgment that relations ‘while civil have seldom been productive.’ ”
7 July
David T. Jones: Obama did not “lose” Canada
(The Metropolitain) Whenever one reads a title including “Who Lost…” you know that ax grinding is about to start with the whetstone spinning. There is a blame game to be played and guilt to be apportioned. Thus, variously, over the decades, the outraged have exclaimed “Who Lost China?” “Who Lost Vietnam?” “Who Lost Iran?” and currently, preemptively lamenting over who lost Afghanistan and/or Iraq. The author(s) always know that others are at fault and they knew better.
Thus the Derek Burney/Fen Hampson Foreign Affairs article addressing “How Obama Lost Canada” is of similar ilk.
These are such tediously predictable efforts (one would exult in reading one entitled “Who Found Canada/etc?”) replete with woe-is-us litanies of unnecessary—to the author(s)—failures and absent solutions to predictable problems.
There is an implicit arrogance in the “lost” motif—as if somehow the United States owned Canada and mislaid it in a fit of absentmindedness. Of course, the United States does not own Canada (and hasn’t tried since 1812), and President Obama’s propensities are for accommodation rather than confrontation in virtually every aspect of domestic and foreign relations.
4 July
Baird Statement on U.S. Independence Day
“On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the people of Canada, it gives me great pleasure to extend to the people of the United States our warmest wishes on the occasion of your Independence Day.
“Canada recognizes the significance of this year as the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812. [Ed. Could we please give it a rest? Americans don’t care] The end of that war marked the evolution of our relationship from one of rivalry to one of close international partnership.
“As family, neighbours and friends, we share a commitment to advancing democracy, human rights, the rule of law and prosperity around the world.
“May Americans and Canadians continue to take every opportunity to continue our cooperation toward making our region more prosperous and the world more secure.
“I wish you the very best on this day of celebration.”
3 July
Andrew Cohen: Obama hasn’t lost Canada
(Ottawa Citizen) the strange polemic on Canadian-American relations that appears in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the American foreign policy establishment … is written by two Canadians, Derek Burney, the pugnacious former diplomat, and Fen Hampson, the esteemed political scientist.
They argue that on issue after issue — the environment, trade, Afghanistan — the United States has “jilted its northern neighbour.” This “mistreatment” and “fumbled issues” and “pattern of neglect” have brought the relationship to its “lowest point in decades,” they say.
Their complaint is selective, self-indulgent and overwrought. It is a catalogue of grievances short of an argument, cheerfully detached from realpolitik. Ultimately it says more about Canadians than Americans.
Consider the administration’s deferral of the Keystone XL pipeline, which the authors say posed “little risk to the environment.” What is astonishing here is that they attack Barack Obama for making a bad “diplomatic and economic decision” while ignoring the political one, as if the presidential election were an abstraction and the pipeline were irrelevant. … Burney argues that the administration “caved to environmental activists.”
It seems that he and his pipeline enthusiasts including David Wilkins, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada, were surprised that Obama listened to those tree huggers. The pipeline crowd seemed to consider approval theirs for the asking. When Obama hesitated, they howled.
Lawrence Martin: How Obama won Canada
(Globe & Mail) The analysis, injecting a sour bilateral note at the time of the countries’ birthday celebrations, … has been roundly criticized by bilateral specialists on both sides of the border for lacking fairness and perspective and for being just plain obtuse.
What the record shows is that given America’s dire conditions of the past few years and given the political divides between the Ottawa and Washington governments, the relationship has been managed for the most part in a pragmatic, respectful and constructive fashion. … To be sure, there have been disappointments here under Mr. Obama, as there have been under virtually every president. But to suggest that he somehow lost Canada is to get history upside down. This President didn’t lose Canada. After Mr. Bush, he won it back.
29 June
Whither Canada-U.S. Relations?
Roland Paris
Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson have well-deserved reputations as level-headed observers of Canada-U.S. relations. How, then, did they come to write an article so full of misjudgments on this subject?
(Open Canada) … in the American political context, this article counts as a cheap shot. It appears during the U.S. presidential campaign season; it is built on dubious facts and judgements; and it hands the president’s political opponents an easy sound bite about Obama “losing Canada.”
Worse, the article purports to speak on behalf of Canadians. In truth, Canadians like Obama considerably more than Americans do, according to opinion surveys. But how many U.S. readers will question Burney and Hampson’s assertions about what Canadians purport to believe?
Meanwhile, the Canadian media gobbles up the narrative of U.S. mistreatment of Canada, which fits effortlessly into our Rodney Dangerfield complex: “We get no respect.” Our leading newspaper trumpets the headline, “Obama ‘Jilted’ Canada, Leading U.S. Journal Says”, as though it were the editorial board of the journal itself, and not two Canadian contributors, making this claim. What’s going on here? We feel a lack of respect from the U.S., yet we automatically lend credence to judgments of Americans – even when we are, in fact, talking to ourselves.
26 June
Are Canada-U.S. relations on the rocks?
(Toronto Star) … Nowhere in the article did Foreign Affairs — nor, for that matter, the Canadian news outlets that quickly picked up on the furor — mention another key element of Burney’s staggering resume.
Burney has since 2005 served on the board of directors of TransCanada Corp., the company behind Keystone XL. He also owns shares of the company. [Ed. emphasis added]
21 June
How Obama Lost Canada — Botching Relations With the United States’ Biggest Trade Partner
By Derek H. Burney and Fen Osler Hampson
(Foreign Affairs) Permitting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline should have been an easy diplomatic and economic decision for U.S. President Barack Obama. … The project posed little risk to the landscape it traversed. But instead of acting on economic logic, the Obama administration caved to environmental activists in November 2011, postponing until 2013 the decision on whether to allow the pipeline.
Obama’s choice marked a triumph of campaign posturing over pragmatism and diplomacy, and it brought U.S.-Canadian relations to their lowest point in decades.
15 June
Canada, Michigan announce new Detroit-Windsor bridge
(Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced a deal on Friday to build a new bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, a $4 billion project that officials say will help speed the flow of goods across North America’s busiest commercial land border crossing.
The new bridge, which has been years in the making, involves a creative financing approach because the Michigan legislature blocked Snyder from using state funds.
Harper went as far as to say that he expects that finding a way to get the new bridge built be will his biggest accomplishment as prime minister.
New $1B Canada-U.S. link ‘the most important piece’ of infrastructure: PM There is something a trifle obscene about this announcement on the day the Omnibus Pill was passed
18 January
MPs on pipeline decision
Liberal MP Marc Garneau and NDP MP Megan Leslie discuss the U.S. government’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline proposal
5 January
Now there’s a lot of backing and filling over what really happened and whether it should have
Man shows scanned passport on iPad, gets into U.S.
(USA Today) Canadian man enters U.S. by showing passport on iPad


9 December
Walkom: Why Canadians are right to worry about border deal
(Toronto Star) The agreement requires Canada to adopt more U.S.-style security measures — and share more information on Canadians with the U.S.
In exchange, Obama has agreed to ask the U.S. Congress for money to speed up truck and business traffic across the border.
Criticisms of the border pact are usually described in terms of privacy. But privacy is a remarkably anodyne term for what is at stake.
It’s not that Canadians are unusually modest. It is that the U.S. has such a terrible record of misusing information.
7 December
Five ways border deal improves life on both sides
(Globe & Mail) The action plan announced Wednesday afternoon by the Prime Minister and President is in essence three deals. The first agrees to create a continental security perimeter to deter criminals and terrorists.
The second agrees to sweep away many of the obstacles that make crossing the 49th parallel a hassle.
The third seeks to harmonize standards and regulations in the auto sector, agriculture and health and personal care products, so that manufacturers can make and sell a product in either country without having to make changes.
6 December
Lawrence Martin: Don’t expect a border pact backlash
To date, Stephen Harper has been an astute manager of Canada-U.S. relations.
He’s struck the right balance. A case in point is his two-pronged strategy on trade. The American market is in bad shape. It may never be what it once was. It makes sense therefore to diversify trade, as the Conservatives are now trying to do. It is also a given that, despite any decline, the U.S. will remain Canada’s largest trading partner. It makes sense therefore for the Prime Minister to secure that market as best he can. He will, therefore, sign the new Beyond the Border agreement, or perimeter accord, with President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
5 December
Colin Robertson: Beyond the Border: noise and promise
(Globe & Mail) The new deal would be a substantive advance on the Smart Border accord, quickly and cleverly cobbled together in the wake of 9/11. The test will be in the pilots and practical implementation to improve supply-chain security and efficiency by moving inspection to the perimeter. An attitudinal change on the part of border staff will be essential to expedite the flow of people and goods. Early results must include faster passage through the border and, for business, less red tape. If implemented as envisioned, the deal holds out the promise of transformational progress.
But there’ll bumps on the road.
21 November
David Jones: Trading over the fence
(Ottawa Citizen) In February, however, following a meeting of President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the sides announced the Regulatory Co-operation Council with a two-year mandate to “promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to our consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and co-ordination.” The objective was for “smarter, more effective approaches to regulation -(but to) in no way diminish the sovereignty of either the United States or Canada -”
In mid November, official announcement was hanging fire, seeking a venue prominent enough to satisfy Canadian desire for high profile attention – while not taking too much presidential time. Following Hawaii discussions, the intimation was for a December declaration.
Have we squared the circle with a perimeter protection projection? Doubtless not. We will continue to struggle with partial solutions accentuated by new sets of problems, currently “unknown unknowns.” But it appears as if Beyond the Border will institutionalize flexible frameworks to address ongoing issues and suggests better days are ahead.
The U.S. and Canada: we used to be friends
Why Barack Obama shelved the Keystone pipeline, and insulted Canada (yet again) in the process
(Maclean’s) On one level, it looked like another in a long list of Obama White House affronts to Canada. The administration inserted protectionist “Buy American” language in the President’s jobs bill in September, despite Canada’s objections to similar language in his stimulus bill two years ago. The administration also ended an exemption for Canadians from a $5.50 travel fee to help offset the costs of a trade deal with Colombia. As well, talks on a much-hyped Canada-U.S. border accord have been dragging on inconclusively. Meanwhile, the world’s largest trading relationship continues to face a bottleneck at its busiest border crossing because the state of Michigan refuses to approve construction of a new bridge—which Canada calls its No. 1 infrastructure priority.
But in Washington, the pipeline decision looked less like a reflection of the state of what Canadians consider “The Relationship” between the two neighbours and more like another case of foreign collateral damage in an internal American power struggle. In this case, it was a hard-fought battle by environmentalists to put climate change back on the agenda of a President who had promised that his election would be “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” but then failed to deliver climate-change legislation. In short, the project was a casualty of the President’s effort to win back an important part of his political base ahead of the 2012 election.
26 October
Is There a Problem in Canada-U.S. Relations?
(CIC) … Negotiations can take time, and there’s no reason to doubt the government’s reports of “excellent progress” in the discussions. Nevertheless, it’s hard to shake the sense that something is not quite right, in part because the intervening period has seen a flurry of new U.S. measures, implemented or threatened, that would impose additional restrictions on cross-border commerce. This week, it was the approval of a new $5.50 levy on Canadians arriving in the U.S. by boat or plane. In previous weeks, it was the renewed threat that Canadian companies would be excluded from public contracts under so-called “Buy America” provisions, and a proposed new tariff on U.S.-bound rail freight.
If discussions towards a substantive bilateral action plan are, in fact, making excellent progress, why haven’t the same negotiators turned their talents to resolving – or, better yet, preventing – these new irritants? The answer, of course, is that things are not so simple. The American policy process is notoriously, unspeakably, gloriously chaotic. The proposed tariff on rail freight, for example, is the handiwork of two U.S. Senators from the State of Washington, who believe that Canadian ports have unfairly drawn container traffic from harbours in their home state. Congressional business is littered with such initiatives, few of which register on the White House radar screen as significant.
18 October
‘Buy America’ provision won’t harm ‘strong’ U.S.-Canada relations: diplomat
(Financial Post) The Obama administration’s recent “Buy America” provision will not harm U.S.-Canada relations and was introduced as a political compromise to persuade Congress to pass a jobs bill that helps economies in both countries, says the American ambassador to Canada.
David Jacobson delivered the message Tuesday in a speech designed to correct some misconceptions on this and two other developing issues: suggestions the U.S. is considering a new levy on cargo entering the U.S. from British Columbia, and the impact on people with dual citizenship of a new U.S. plan to crack down on people who create tax havens.
… Canada had won an exemption from Buy America provisions in a $900-billion stimulus bill in 2009, but did not get such treatment in Obama’s second round of stimulus this fall.
18 February
U.S. travel fee was badly timed: ambassador
(CBC) The U.S. ambassador to Canada acknowledges bad timing in the unveiling of a proposed new fee for some Canadian travellers entering the U.S.
The proposed $5.50 passenger fee surfaced in the draft U.S. budget released Feb. 14.
The travel fee would be applied to people entering the U.S. by air or sea from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean, ending the exemption for travellers from those regions.
14 February
Marc Garneau: Let’s lose the inferiority complex
(Ottawa Citizen op-ed) Canadians need to take a deep breath and look at the big picture of a continental perimeter agreement. Why the precipitous diplomacy to achieve a continental security perimeter? What are the intended and unintended consequences?
4 February
Harper, Obama announce ‘new vision’ for border
(National Post) Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama are seeking a sweeping deal to establish a North American security and trade perimeter, opening talks Friday that could lead to jointly operated Canada-U.S. border facilities, an integrated entry-exit system to track travellers and the deployment of “cross-designated” law enforcement officers to intercept terrorists and criminals. (CBC) Border talks ‘not about sovereignty:’ Harper ; Canada and U.S. match up better than any countries on Earth: Obama (Government of Canada) Beyond the Border: a shared vision for perimeter security and economic competitiveness
3 February
‘Now for the Hard Part’: A User’s Guide to Renewing the Canadian-American Partnership”
(CBC) A day before Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to meet U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute has released a report on the potential future of the bilateral relationship.
The report by former diplomat Colin Robertson argues that in order to create “smart growth and jobs” in a post-NAFTA Canada, progress must be made in three key areas: “a common security perimeter, a rationalized regulatory regime that reduces red tape and a compatible approach to the stewardship and development of resources.” That last area includes a common approach to tackling climate change.
3 September 2010
Alberta’s office in Canadian embassy ‘has opened can of worms’
Trouble could arise if province at odds with federal government in White House talks
Kevin O’Shea, head of political affairs at the Canadian embassy, told the seminar that it would be unthinkable to end provincial representation for fears the provinces and the federal government might have conflicting messages in their dealings with White House officials. More provinces may even be heading to the embassy, he added.
1 April
Kandahar is What the Canada-U.S. Alliance is All About
(Brookings Institute) Relatively minor disagreements over matters such as who should attend a summit on the Arctic are obscuring the central point that American and Canadian forces – as well as diplomats and development experts – are beginning the most important combined wartime operation since the Second World War. On this effort – the decisive Kandahar City campaign – most likely rests the fate of the Afghan mission.
13 February 2010
David Jones: Y(Our) man in Tehran
Ken Taylor’s espionage efforts during the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis only enhance his heroism, but they should have remained a secret
The U.S. government corporately and U.S. diplomats individually were and remain immensely grateful to the Canadian government.
But now there is a further facet to Taylor’s efforts on behalf of the U.S. government: the revelation that he was de facto the CIA station chief in Tehran during this period, “running” a U.S. CIA agent assigned to him and actively, along with a key member of the Canadian Embassy staff, doing “aggressive” intelligence collection, assessing Iranian defences at the U.S. Embassy. His efforts were essential for the U.S. plan to liberate the hostages through a complex military operation.
4 February 2010
Dov Zigler interview on CTV “U.S., Canada make it official on Buy American”
Breakthrough made on ‘Buy American’
Canadian companies will get access to funding from U.S. economic stimulus projects in 37 U.S. states under a deal to circumvent the protectionist “Buy American” clause, CBC News has learned.
28 August 2009
Doer named Canada’s next U.S. ambassador
Gary Doer was introduced Friday in Ottawa as Canada’s next ambassador to the United States, a day after surprising many political observers by announcing he was stepping down as premier of Manitoba.
17-19 April
The 5th Summit of the Americas
Canada and the Summit of the Americas
19 February
Obama spokesmen comment on Ottawa visit
A transcript of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and deputy press secretary Jim Steinberg commenting aboard Air Force One Thursday night on U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa.
PM, Obama talk economy, environment and security
(CTV News) Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama pledged a common approach to tackle climate change and the global recession during talks in Ottawa, but Obama said he did not press Canada to extend its mission in Afghanistan.
5 February
Canada encouraged by softened “Buy American” plan
(Reuters) – Canada said on Thursday it was encouraged by the U.S. Senate’s move to soften the “Buy American” provision in its $900 billion stimulus bill, but said it would maintain diplomatic pressure on Washington to keep protectionist measures out of the plan as it moves forward.
30 January 2009
Obama’s ‘Buy American’ plan blasted
Bid by U.S. Congress to block foreign products ‘would be catastrophic’ for Canadian companies
As China, India and the European Union warned that protectionist barriers would hinder world trade, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada expects the United States to respect its free trade commitments as it moves to build new roads, railways, bridges, airports and housing.

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